Picasso Heirs Auctioning Unreleased Work as NFTs

The heirs of iconic artist Pablo Picasso are auctioning a collection of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) based on one of his unreleased pieces.

Picasso’s granddaughter, Marina Picasso, and her son Florian Picasso, will release 1,010 digital art pieces based on a ceramic work by the artist which has never been seen publicly. In their upscale Geneva apartment, littered with their ancestors’ works, they offered a glimpse of the featured piece. In order to entice the public, but maintain exclusivity, they exposed only a sliver of the ceramic piece, roughly the size of a large salad bowl. What they’ve revealed forms like a thick yellow line, a dribbling green splotch, and a brushed-on number “58” at the base. Dating back to 1958, Marina Picasso says the cherished pottery piece

“It’s a work that represents a face, and it’s very expressive,” Marina Picasso said of the cherished pottery piece dating back to October 1958. “It’s joyful, happy. It represents life … It’s one of those objects that have been part of our life, our intimate lives — my life with my children.” In selecting the bowl as the first piece, Florian Picasso said it was agreed on because it was “a fun one” with which to start. 

Sotheby’s will host the auction, which will feature the actual ceramic bowl, in March. A portion of the proceeds from the auction will go to a nurse-sourcing charity and a carbon-reduction NGO.

“Everything is evolving”

The younger Picasso seems particularly enthused by the prospective fusing of fine art and digital assets. “We’re trying to build a bridge between the NFT world and the fine art world,” he said. In its effort to create a younger community of Picasso fans, Florian believes his family’s approach is in line with his great-grandfather. “I think it fits within Picasso’s legacies because we are paying tribute to him and his way of working, which was always being creative,” he said. “Everything is evolving.”

While renowned for his immense artistic talent, Picasso was clearly a natural at marketing and branding himself. In fact, by apocryphally paying for a restaurant meal with a personalized doodle on a napkin, Picasso may have even presaged NFTs.

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